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Chris Singleton: Racial Violence, Loss, and Finding Your Way Out

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
October 3, 2022 3:00 am

Chris Singleton: Racial Violence, Loss, and Finding Your Way Out

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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October 3, 2022 3:00 am

Speaker & baseball pro Chris Singleton speaks about his mother’s death to racial violence—as well as seeking God amidst his gut-wrenching loss.

Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer

There is an event that took place in 2015 in Charleston South Carolina that I don't think anyone will ever forget. I remember not to devastating nine people killed by a young man 21 years old little white early 20s water booby Emanuel Piscopo church member is charged with five counts of murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of shows no emotion as relatives of the victims addressed immediately. My life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I mean Wilson and Dave Wilson and you can find his family life or on the family life life today was a day our country was, and I remember it because it had an effect on me had an effect on people that were there and we got a gentleman in the studio today was personally affected. Chris Singleton is with us today who travels the country is an inspirational speaker former professional baseball player. So Chris, I've heard you speak your YouTube phenomenon. Did you know that what I did know that man I didn't but appreciate that fishermen have watched you, you know, in front of little kids in high schoolers and even businessmen and women in one of the things I'll never forget. Love to hear you talk about. This is what you call your five numbers 801-7059 and what you see that I didn't have to look at it when I first heard you say those numbers. I thought you your baseball guy. Your tongue by your average 170 Michael 170. Is that what he had and then you walk through those numbers and it's really life-changing.

So help our listeners understand what one of those numbers. Me: my struggle moment Manda those numbers to me they keep me going every single day. So there is one.

One person I was misinformed and misled to hate that look like me and unfortunately this one person you walk in my church mother manually means 5/70 bullets and during Bible study that night over over 50 those bullets into bodies. He took nine lives in one of those lives happen to be my hero, my mom, so those those numbers to me when it gets tough the roadway gets tough with my family. Those numbers lock me back in and they keep me going to keep spreading the good word, yes. How can you take us back.

I mean, you get a phone call you what 18 years old. Seven yeah 18 years old just finished my freshman year college had a pretty good freshman year plan is mid major school and even beat Clemson first time in school. First, almost wish would be Clemson man that's all you do anything, and I gave I did. I had a great game that you like that. So we would be Clemson for hits meal diving catch in the coolest thing for me, man, my mom was such baseball mom that she was teacher at my school.

She's on the intercom the next day to see my baby last game really meant phenomenal freshman season but got call of the unthinkable is what happened to me, my family because we see stuff like that on TV and in the newspapers OR phone: but when everything will happen us and that's with that night. June 17, 2015 was for me your phone call to come down to our church to something bad happen and ultimately I get down there.

I realize it was just something bad but it was the unimaginable, that my mother and eight other people were shot and killed. So Chris, you have two younger siblings.

I do go to that church with you as a hospital.

I went straight to my church. You know this is fresh and somebody said Chris get down here, so I went down to my church and they put us in this hotel is what they had to send at this time. You know you still so should be stuff coming to phone or by calling you but nobody tell you anything just know something bad is happening and I didn't until a brother sister come down there because I had no idea what the severity of it so.

Ultimately, though, that night I had to tell them that mom is gone and it wasn't just me. I have my my high school sweetheart. My wife now that I was there with me to help me break the news to them but it was really really rough for us and that that moment.

If I remember right you got a call from your mom's phone so you almost think it's her exactly but it's not.

So you have no idea. You get down there when they say your mom was gone because not everybody was killed nine were killed and she's one of them. Do you remember think in what way do was your first thought the angry rain, sad, lock us through. Yeah, motion you'll meet me. So first of all when I got down there.

It was just I was just extremely anxious. I didn't know what was going to happen and were in a hotel room but it sexy like a conference room in the hotel so everybody in their screaming and you know all the stuff happen there please in and out and give us the details of what happened.

Someone walked in. Yeah this guy walked in with a magazine's bullets with hate in his heart. His mission of starting a race war and he fired all his blows from our church because of the color of their skin. That's what happened but you know that night.

I didn't know what why it happened or what was going on.

I just knew that my mom went to Bible study and later on that night there was a corner there and always mentioned that I hope people are privileged enough to not know the corner is because I was 18 I didn't know she was, but she said to me Chrissy, can you describe your mom is will she asked me to do. Ultimately, I thought, will she ask me to describe this because my mom is hurt so bad. Or, she asked me this because she's trying to from the mom's okay this August, mom, and finally she said Chris is confirmed. Mother's been taken away. So when I heard that is like you know you go numb and told my brother sister is probably the toughest things about how to do my life, however, that the time little brother 12 sister 15 so. Middle school, high school, telling them that our hero, mom was was no longer with us and your dad that was in their 991 doing too well and so I called Hillman no call other people are extra, high school basketball coach. That's why I got such a great relationship with him because we think is sometimes educated you think you do what you're doing maybe make an impact or my dad didn't answer know my friends call me in this know that the third eye, my coach. So for me and I was rough.

It was really rough. There was no sleep that night my little brother who was 12 actually slept in the bed next to him and you know he's cried himself to sleep and four. There I didn't I didn't give myself any time. You know I just started think well I gotta do for them and we always hear you know Chris, be strong, stay strong, and so I thought being strong meant neighbor Cryan I thought being strong, meant never shown any emotion. So there is a small period of time where I thought strength was be a robot and life as a funny way of letting you realize that's not strength that's just been fake. I'm grateful that God give me the wisdom to to be a real man and show motion and finally beat you to come back down earth and figure out they were all human.

We all go through things to show emotion doesn't mean you're weak just means you your human being and you had to keep it together years I made in some ways, were you the dad to your siblings know. Always say I was like a father figure, but I realize really quickly that being a father figure would work for them because I'm safe, but she do this do that, you know, straight A's instead of 30. Like Chris, if you get on my face.

I realize that is gotta be big brother, his father figure 1.

Don't cut it but definitely take care of him and always told him hey we want to make mom proud can't let mom down the should do is she wants us to do. Whether she's here on earth or not.

We know that she's rejoicing in a better place. You know the other victims that were killed that night. Did you know any of them absolutely mother manually know were small church always joked that the average Asian muddy menu had to be like 65 know it was an old church right and so the young families. We stuck together. You know everybody's like grandma, grandpa her auntie uncle was so when you did well at your game whereby the church knew you know when you got a scholarship to play in college, or by the church to the seller family made for sure the family so you everybody that lost her life that night for sure. So I'm just wondering can you hire this young man this person walks in starter race war. How are you not in range.

Do you get to the point where you are sad you said you were in shock.

Did you get angry sometimes he blessed me, Chris, would you change a thing will absolutely I would help my mom here with me but I know for a fact that God put forgiveness in my heart because there's no way in the world that I could've said that for gave mother's children in a way that I describe it is when I forget my mother's killer. It was like a reporter, rush me as a Chris how you feel about it. Her shoes from the BBC's I feel about all these things happen. We think about the killer and said you know already forgiven our family are forgives him and my sister looks over me like we what right and for me I describe as being on autopilot.

You drop in home sometimes evenly know if you turn left or right, but you just get into your driveway you like me. I don't know what stoplight I was that on the stop sign.

I was an olive autopilot and that's what was for me when I forgive my mother's killer and I know why now I know why because forgiveness wasn't just for me that day was for so many people that were like man if this guy in these families can forgive how can I not seen so much good come from it, but I was upset then that my mom was no longer here.

I'm still upset that my mom won't see her grandsons play T-ball so I'll forever be upset but I think angry and having anger and no I don't feel that my heart right now. I haven't ever made was Siri. Do you remember a process of walking through like you said the anger to the forgiveness.

It was instantaneous or to take a while.

And what was I like no man I think you know when I first lost my mom, we didn't we didn't know that she was killed because of the color of her skin.

We just knew that a guy walked in and ended that right was a smash shooting we did know why the mass shooting happened and so I was just devastated that my mom was gone. I thought it was just, you know, another mass shooting that happened. I did know the reason behind her.

Nothing like that. I immediately looked at my brother sister said man your mom's who feeds us worry about the do.

I have no idea. I do know anything my car insurance didn't know anything about healthcare. I know anything. I was blessed to have a mom and secure all his stuff and so I do know it so immediately him try to figure out who and how we eat know Tuesday night driving the school for the next five years. I was going to happen and so that that's what the process was for me. Initially, things died down, the media, one away and all that stuff happen. Then I was able to sit down and think, Mama, mom is really kill because she's black, that's a terrible way for Smiley to go and I'm so grateful that in that time. I think that was molding me because me personally man if it was just up to me I would have been like a this happen. I want to play my sport in that. That's it. But God had other plans for me and off site and see that the time but I see that now. The process really forgiveness is simple, I think you gotta say it out loud right. I forgive Dylan roof. I forgive him for taking my mother's life that I think there's gotta be something on the other side of that forgiveness right as a believer there something on the other side of salvation for us we die we know there's eternal life, and so for me on the other side of forgiveness. I think man now will have to think every single young white male is racist that's on the other side of forgiveness for me. On the other side is now I don't have to be nervous when I walk into a room and I can have the the door behind you not be scared. On the other side of forgiveness. So there's there's gotta be something on the side of it when you talk about the process of it, but initially may not not put all my heart. I do give my soul way too much credit saying I did this in that process it, and no capital my heart that happened and now I know what I'm listening to you.

Thinking this faith here 18 years old and yet you had this foundational faith. How did that come about.

Yeah, I was raised in the church but you know be raised in the church doesn't mean anything is means you, you have it you will no choice that's that. He's right. So I went to church like any other kid would, but cannot exit as a crossroads when you go do something really tough, especially when your mom is his murder while she's praying right claiming training yeah and Bible study you can say hey my mom's murdered in church.

There's no way God is real to say that we could say God I don't know how the world is happened, or why it happened, but I know only you can get me through it and I went with the ladder and because I've gone with the latter. That's where my faith is been strengthened tenfold and I'm super practical about things because you know if your mom is murder. While she's pregnant to say. May Chris. How could she be killed if she's praying to God that you serve right I said got. I don't know how I don't know why but I know only you can get me through this mess in that God is come through, time after again so I think my faith is deftly strengthened after it ice to read my mother's Bible. She's read from cover to cover.

She's one of seven people right every year recovered coverage you highlight things for me finally read the Bible myself, not just no trust in my pastor due to my mom to do it.

We read myself.

I read her Bibles and reading those Scriptures. That's when I found my faith, not just relying on my mom or my pastor. But I found a relationship for myself I made was there ever a moment where you you know struggled with the how in the world is my mom or anybody go to a church sit in the Bible say pray in lose their life. Did you ever struggle with God. Would he do if I did your siblings I never struggle with the how because I think you know there's obviously good in the world but there's some real bad in the world. Unfortunately, right there some people that want to do evil things, and I realize that we have the gift of free will soap some people are going to use it as Gumby curse is on every side with the how but always start with a Y like why you wanted.

My mom have to go. You know the person that would love everybody you know she was a track coach would take you home from school after practice and say hey did you get a meal if not, let's go to know Wendy is a Hardee's or some real quick so I struggle with the why why my mom as far as my faith. I'm so grateful that I didn't go the other way, but you know my brother had a point, he said Chris you know may not.

I see you really just really strong your faith member. Come on now come on now. Mom's friend. That's the same guy that you're praying to, you know, so he really struggle with that for a while and I struggle with that being big brother I submitted must my brother gets a car accident.

I don't know where he's going right now you know I'm saying this I really struggle with that. But there was a guy who is a chaplain for the Patriots's name Jackie should be. He's with the Texans now yeah as Jack about a similar muscle to do my brother and he says not does not really some yellow stuff was believing him. He said Chris you you don't don't push them right now you push him right now. He's never coming back, but he deftly had the struggle with, you know man Chris understand your faith is strengthened because of it, but mom I was praying and she had killed so stuffed me to believe he deftly had that I'm interested like when you called your basketball coach lady say to you, this is a guy that is been there through everything for me. He's actually always say that he's actually the first white person of her salary to me. He truly meant it to be poured into us and we saw the relation to this day, but talking to them is all about encouragement sometimes about not about what you say but it's about being able to pick up the phone and hears my voice. Even today, I'll text him every now and then just say thank you for all you've done for me. My life is always like now.

Love you Chris so we saw that relationship being present sometimes is is more important figure out the work right words to say to people asked what I say to this person. Sometimes words are going cut it. But just being there let us know that hey they you care about. So you were, you know, still in college at the time, right if so help us understand you're actually going back to school and playing baseball. I know Dave. I'm still worried about how dinky her brother and said get to school and how they get Baghdad was yesterday while he just wasn't part of the heat. You know he E struggle Mattie I would say in my mind my denture with alcohol pretty bad.

So in my mind I said man this and get my dad back on track man lose my mom's got no choice but to step up to the plate. Every awake he'll be wake of Caldwell's thinking, but now I was.

It was too much for he was really sick and so my aunt she actually set this up lately. They move them out for year and it was rough from anyone of didn't want to be in Atlanta. They want to be in Charleston where we were from and so for about a year year and 1/2.

They lived there until I got drafted by the Cubs and my whole college career. After that was hey I want to make my mom proud, you know, she was always a baseball mom I'm going to draft if my mom and I always have this hashtag says can't let moms down every post that makes us can't let moms down. Adele is my goal been an athlete in college so I want to do just play sports out all the interviews. A Christian would do this do that, you know, I'll do it, but baseball is my think that's what I do miss our live was for couple years after I lost my mom so tell us about you know you get drafted your plan base but you're married yet. Mary and you have any kids at home. At that time hirelings I did. You have my little man CJ Chris Junior so he's at home year on the road you are trying to make it to the Bigs you not playing baseball now walk us through the end of that.

Always say anybody that is married to an athlete. They gotta be superwoman because you know you're gone a lot.

Yeah I was gone seven months of the year and at home is not just our son is my little brother Emma, little sister. They lived with. They lived with me.

Yeah. They lived with us. So my wife is literally like Superwoman, she hear what your wife is super what you have your brother and sister living with your wife and they come to live with you and yeah were 21 were 20 B 20 let me 20 at the top and their teenager, so were like no we is hard but I got through Say that I guess I got a phone call or two from your wife. Oh my goodness yeah I got the phone calls I Chris this happen that happen.

I motioned him in the middle hey you know this is love everybody okay so I got those books. She's my dream playing baseball played a couple seasons, love the Cubs but I got drafted by the Cubs first time ever going to a therapist who knows play in the minor leagues. Because I struggle with my sport and I must not Chris. You know you like this boy get you down may even do so much you been to want to see you like baseball hurt you now say man baseball than the one thing that I could you have an escape for most of us going through and when I would have the success it was tough for me man mentally SRC.

The therapist was free therapy, which was super eye-opening for me. I went for about a year and then ultimately in 2019. I got released by the Cubs and I knew exactly what I want to do. I've been speaking in the off-season, I got married on TV I got married a lifetime so people's money. DME own element social media increase we saw your story on ESPN. We think you deserve a free wedding SLK will begin my credit card number. That's what you want to send a free wedding in the snow we got the show. We think you think you deserve it, and sure enough lifetime calls me.

Hey Chris, you know were we want you on the show so we got married on phone on live TV live TV and I paid for everything pay for every heart is free wedding dress like a guy named Greg David to Terra, not bothering okay yes is in the game. But the guy David it's your actually he created her address for my wife.

You know she's a woman dress look like this.

He created address for her, called the Mariana's. My wife's name, free wedding is got her own dress. All is for now you know honey I just want to say I'm so for our wedding was nothing like that when they let the air file rehab paper Pepsi-Cola cups that are reception anyway wow yeah like that, though that may destroy strength. We ran a lawyer in years and I want to do with what I much money spent on the when we sell yeah your wedding is paid for. You get married you another 20 years old yeah were 20 years old. But here's the thing you know will be around pro sports over three decades. One of the hardest things is for an athlete to end the career when the career ends whether it's by injury or personal choice or you just don't get re-signed. So you had that moment where they're looking at you saying you know, I don't see a future. Did you struggle did you want to keep gone. Did you walk away.

What was that walked away man. I think for me, pressing the letter athletes is they'll know who they are, they should know what sport they play right and meet somebody hey Chris of a baseball player, that's all they know that they are and so when you're sports over.

You have an identity crisis right now for me I had a mission.

Hey, I was signed every single signature Chris Singleton love is greater than eight people asked me what is that mean meant to about my story. I got this mission of unity. Now I know exactly what I want to do. I will speak in the off-season, I was given opportunities and so I got released I immediately made a social media post. I am done playing ball but I'm going to continue this mission of teaching love teaching how we can come together in practical ways.

So that's what I start to do and that is blessed ever since. So you been doing, you said earlier hundred and 50 or so engagements a year, down about 100 telegrams, with you coming up pretty soon, but a memo life actually sit down every year we talk about how many days I can be gone so we said about going to couple strip in December and I will say maybe holidays you think in this year and this year was 150.

The year before.

She said hey you know if you work as much. I'm not gonna work, stay home with the kids is awesome thousand transition here before this year. Her getting a babysitter sometimes help out.

I was another transition and so I want to make sure that I don't become a public success in private failure when my favorite mentors, inky, Johnson said that Anna stuck with me.

I never want to become a person where I'm speaking only stage one day somebody asked my wife.

She's the cellmate. Chris is a great guy and my biggest fear is that she says will know is not that easy to got you, but is not it got us.

That's a fear that I have I have nightmares about that.

So I will never let that happen.

Yeah, I always say you don't want to. Guy says to me in this happened hundreds of times you known his wife stand right beside him and he says something like this. God's number one of my life my wife my families number two in my jobs number three I never look at the guy. I always look at his wife. Yeah they know when he is a Annette is like her face. Her countenance will tell you this is true, I shall be smiling like yeah or shall be like looking off or even maybe wrong arising yeah he saying that Abbott is not real.

So you're saying it's really your wife that determines if your marriage is good absolutely and that Steven and Wilson with Chris Singleton on family life today. Stick around, you'll want to hear what Chris has to say about being on the same page as your spouse in just a minute. The first Chris is written a children's book called your life matters. You can get a copy of family life or by calling 800-358-6329. That's 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today. Now if your house is anything like mine, then you're getting the family ready for all things fall. You know like hooded sweatshirts and pumpkin spice and everything will now you can add to that family life's newest resource called gospel in a pumpkin it's a free download with activities pumpkin face stencil sheets and a guided script to help your kids learn about what matters most. While you get your hands gooey and decimate having really just decorate some pumpkins. You can download gospel in a pumpkin for free If you think the world needs more families talking about the gospel around the kitchen table during this season, would you give to family life and make more resources like this available for more families you could partner with family life by giving or you can donate over the phone by calling 800-358-6329.

That's 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today right.

Here's Chris Singleton on the importance of sharing the same mission as a married couple. Everybody says the clich answer me what you do.

My family hereby says that rent but you know being gone 150 days a year. I'm not with my family a lot right and so for me always say hey baby this the mission and if if she can see fruit from that mission should be like you saying home, but I think screenshots of Aries DM that I get from somebody say Chris, what you did they change my heart, what you did today. You know makes me think I can keep going and so I'll save all those so she knows hey he's not out there twiddling his thumbs is trying to do the good work, she believes him a message in my mission. So you saying you can't do without her. Either like you guys are in real I Senior 19 ministry and I love that you're sending those to her because you're saying, look what we are doing them and for unity in the body tomorrow. Chris Singleton will be back with David and talk about how we are all valuable and that finding the individuality of those around us and fight the division between us. That's tomorrow. Audio clips at the beginning of today's episode came from Charleston County government and voice of America on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm Shelby C back next time for another edition of family life, family life, and he is a production of family life accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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